Saturday, March 27, 2010

Crazy Little Thing Called Love.....

So I guess by the world’s standards, I would be considered a “love failure”. I’m 27, unmarried, living with my folks again, never had a boyfriend, or a first kiss...heck,I’ve never even held hands with a guy accept for in a prayer circle. But its not for lack of trying. Let me run down my brief history, as best as i can recall it, in the art of dating:

My first romance. His name was Robin. I met him at VBS. I was in first grade, he was in fifth. He tried to give me my first kiss. I told him it was gross and ran away. Then he broke my brothers drums and was banned from my house. He spent the rest of the summer riding his bike past my house a few times a day. Very “Romeo and Juliet” know, minus the suicide.

Sixth grade, Robert Dapice, my first “boyfriend”. I threatened to beat him up if he didn’t go out with me. It was love. Then one day, I heard through my friends he was breaking up our three week romance because he had the nerve to move away. Well, being the confident woman I was, I found him sitting in the bleachers in gym class and informed him that no one treats me that way and then threw every thing he ever gave me ( i believe it was some old foreign coins, a quarter-machine necklace and a small trinket box) in his face. He then did the sweetest thing. He came to my English class and returned all of it and said he was sorry. He had this look on his face and I knew I had hurt his feelings really bad. I still have those things he gave me to this day.

High school was another story. My friends were desperate to “find me a man”. Thus began a series of disastrous and admittedly hilarious blind dates. First there was Chad. Chad was an interesting fellow. He came over to meet me one day after school. About an hour later I found him out back making out with the girl who was setting us up. It was really okay though. I found out later, when he was trying to convince me he was an expert swordsman...yeah...he was a liar.

Then there was Ralph. God love really wasn’t his fault. I think when you're named Ralph people naturally have lower expectations of you.I was trying not to judge our date by the fact that he licked McRib sauce of his monster truck was really the fact that he took me to a monster truck rally that sealed our fate. Kind of hard to get to know someone over the sounds of roaring engines and crushing metal.

And finally there was Robin. Yes, another one, or so I thought. Robin got my number from a friend who lived a few towns away. Why she thought he was the man of my dreams, God only knows, but whatever. We began our relationship completely on the phone. I was all of fourteen or fifteen and it was summer....I was just having fun. I later realized, when he was asking me to marry him from a gas station pay phone while our “song” was blaring from his Camero, that maybe we were having a little too much fun. I hadn’t even met the guy yet. Stupidly, I said yes to his crazy proposal. Then we decided it might be a good idea if we So we did.Does the term “uni bomber” mean anything to you? He tried to set my shirt sleeve on fire with a lighter. When I asked him why he said, “ I wanted to see if it would catch.” And if it did, I was the girl for you if I remembered to stop drop and roll?

Needless to say, I ended that quickly....with the help of my best friend, Jenny, a master of the art of deception. I believe I was described as a pregnant, crack addict with an abusive boyfriend.Yikes. Not proud of that one. But felt a little better about it when I found out from my older brother that this Robin was in fact the very same Robin from first grade and that his father was also his grandfather.....thank you Jesus from saving me from dipping into that gene pool.

I took a break from dating for a long time....well it was more like life took a break for me. Not a soul asked me out for years. Then, long after high school, the guys started to come around again. There was a guy who tried to get me to go out with him by giving me his “business card”. was the card of the restaurant he worked a bus boy. Then there was another fellow.....close friend of mine. That story was little more sad...we’ll save it for another day. The there was “B”. B really liked me. He was a friend of a friend. He asked me out on a date, which he was several hours late for, and I didn’t even know it was a date until he asked to meet my mom. He then proceeded the rest of the "date" to inform me of all the reasons he sucked, all the girls he used to like and had his mom call me to apologize for making him late. He then ditched me to hang with his friends.

After seven months, he contacted me again to attempt to make up for his behavior. The first time we were to hang out he pulled in my drive for five seconds and then drove away. He called me later to say his friends were hungry and they decided to go to Steak and Shake....then his cousin called me a douche. Then, in an attempt to make amends later, he decided to come over and meet my friends. After showing up three hours late and with six of his friends in tow, he then proceeded to ignore my existence....literally.....the entire time he was there. Yeah, that was the last time I ever talked to him. After him there was Christian, my spicy Latin friend. He could cook and fix cars. Needless to say, I was really kicking myself when I finally realized he liked me.... about a month after we stopped hanging out....when my roommates were like,”Duh...hello...he likes you.” Bummer.

There have been a few mini flirtations over the years but no one else ever really has expressed interest. And I am totally not the type to ask a guy out. Its just not my style.

I look at this list of guys and I laugh. It really has been a comedy of errors. And there have been times when I really questioned my part in it all. Have I done something wrong? Why am I attracting these guys? Why can’t I find a real man? Are my expectations to high? But then...after awhile...I come to the realization that it really can’t be my fault. None of them lasted long enough to give me the chance to do something wrong. And most of it was just the Lord protecting my heart anyway.I’m grateful I don’t have the emotional baggage of having tons of broken relationships. I don’t have the guilt of having shared intimate moments with someone I didn’t really love.I have been spared the torment of the dating scene.

I know what I am worth and that true, lasting, God centered love is worth waiting for. There is a guy out there for me somewhere. Its just taking us a little while to find each other.An But in this time of singleness, the Lord has taught me more about love and commitment than nay man on earth could have ever shown me. So yes, to the world I may be a “love failure” I’m not willing to settle for anything less than the the one God has designed me for.

And no, I don’t think that’s setting my expectations to high. I just want a guy who sets my heart on fire...not my clothes.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Baby, You're A Genious.....

"Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by children." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

I am a nanny for a family here in town. I watch their two youngest, ages 5 and 2 during the day. The youngest, Chase is just getting the hang of talking. The jumbled up version of words he says crack me up constantly. But I gotta say, my favorite are the times he's sitting in my lap and he grabs my chin and says, "Manna....hi." And the oldest, Delaney...well she's pretty much always talking. She loves to tell me every detail of everything that has ever happened. But my favorite days are the days she sings. Its rarely on key and most of the words are made up, but it is so sweet when I'll hear somewhere playing, singing a quiet little song to herself. And today was no exception. We were all sitting on the porch, reading books and singing songs. Delaney looks at me and says, "Let's sing a song...and let's make up the words." And this is what she sings:

“ When things are good, people say “Whoo hoo!”.When things are good, people say “Praise you Jesus!”.When things are bad, people pack up. When things are bad, people pack up and say "Whoo hoo!"

I asked her to sing it again and she obliged. I sat for a second and thought about what she said. When things are good we say "Praise you Jesus"...when things are bad, we pack up.
Hmm...Consider Job. His life sucked. A lot. Often. He was a good guy. He loved the Lord. And in one day he lost his livestock, most of his servants and his children. Then on another he was covered in boils. He was told by his own wife to curse God and die.He was chastised by his friends. Satan didn’t believe he would still love God if God let bad things happen to him. He believed Job was only a good servant because God was protecting him. So God allowed Job to be tested, not to mock Job, but because He knew Job would be faithful. Job got mad. He got sad. He went through the most intense emotional struggle anyone could face. But in the end, God got the glory.Job repented, God has his friends repent, had Job pray for them and then blessed him with more than he lost. Its says,

" The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch.Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years."

Kind of makes you think twice about whining over a bad hair day, huh? God knew that no matter what he said, Job loved Him and he would remain His servant. Reality is this: sometimes life sucks. Sometimes, we're responsible for the suckage (i.e. speeding tickets, fights with friends, etc.) Sometimes we're not. Sometimes there seems to be no cause for it at all and completely unjust.( i.e losing a loved one, illness, etc.)
It can be so easy to want to give call it quits. But listen to James 5:10-11:

"My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.
Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful."

or Psalm 42:5

"Why are you cast down, O my soul?And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him f or the help of His countenance."

or Philippians 4:11-12
"....for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."

The reality is that there is sin in the world. Where there is sin there is death. Bad things happen because evil is still lurking. Sometimes people die. We all will eventually.Sometimes bad guys win.God allows us to walk in times of trial so that we know we need him. If life was always good and candy-coated we would never have need of him. This is what the Bible says about trials:

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-3

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love." 1 Peter 1: 6-8

The testing of our faith produces patience. When patience has its way we’ll be complete and lacking nothing. Our faith is tested to prove its genuine. let me put it another way. Would you want to allow your child to play with a toy that had not gone through safety testing? Its tested to prove its okay....its working correctly....all its parts are in the right place and the right order....and its okay for someone to use. He need to know we are working correctly. He needs to know we are equipped with all we need to survive. That we have everything we need to be used effectively in the kingdom of God. That we are safe for others to come to for counsel or for prayer because our hearts in the right place. He doesn’t want us to lack anything we need because He loves us. He’s a good father.

So before we throw in the towel because its all just too much to take, hold on. Ask the Holy Spirit to comfort you. Ask God for wisdom in accepting this trial. Ask Him to show you the light at the end of the tunnel. Cling to hope with all you have. It won’t last for ever. Its just a moment in your life. And God is right there with you, helping you get though it. “ Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”( Psalm 30) Its gonna be over soon.And when it is, you’ll shine like gold.

And if you don't believe me, ask Delaney.Apparently she knows everything.

Monday, March 22, 2010

As Per Requested....

Okay so its not a "column" per se...but you wanted me to write so.... here you go:
[Jeez...take what you get and be grateful. Someday I'll be famous and you can say you knew me when I was merely just an innocent blogger, putting her meager thoughts in a paragraph or two and whisking it off into cyberspace. :) ]

I'm not sure what to write at this moment but I'll give it a shot. Today I had a wonderful conversation with a dear friend of mine. As to the full nature of said conversation, well that will remain a mystery...but I can share one particular thought in which we were discussing. That was the nature of love as it pertains to the body of Christ and our prayers.I had shared that had been praying for her and she thanked me for doing so. Then she went on to say that she knew I was always going to be one of the people she knew she could call to pray for her and that I would actually do it and continue to do so...or something to that effect.

What a compliment....I was very flattered but then it hit me. Isn't that how its always supposed to be? Shouldn't we be daily wreaking havoc on the gates of heaven on each others behalf? What else are we meant for?

In today's devotional for Our Daily Bread, writer David C. McCasland actually addressed this very topic today. He wrote:

"Missionary Frank Laubach described his habit of “shooting” prayers at people as he encountered them during the course of each day. In a sense, he was “texting” God on their behalf, staying in constant communication with the Father. Laubach believed that prayer is the mightiest force in the world, and said: “My part is to live in this hour in continuous inner conversation with God and in perfect responsiveness to His will.”

"Continuous conversation with God" wonderful. He references this scripture in his writing as well:

" We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit.......
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light"
(Colossians 1:3 -12 NKJV)

Praying for others is mentioned often through the scriptures.I believe that this is the very definition of love...putting such value in the lives of others that you are willing to charge the doors of heaven with your battering ram of prayer to see the Father's will carried out in their lives....that you are desperate to know the heart of God concerning them....that you ling to see God encounter them with his love and bless them abundantly and you cannot rest until its done. And are we not called to love our brother as ourselves? When there is any issue that concerns us, we rush to God to know His heart about it. We'll fast for weeks if we have to to get an answer. We'll throw everything we've got into contending for our own gain. But what if we stopped...took just a moment....put our brother's and sister's needs ahead of our own?

Don't get me all means, pray as you feel led. But don't forget your fellow man. If someone asks you to pray for it...right then and there...don't and I both know you'll forget. And when you have your quiet time with the Lord, take just a moment..ask the Lord who's on His heart...ask Him how to pray for them and do it. I's life changing for all involved.

Hey...if its good enough for Paul,Tim and Phil... its good enough for me.